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NJ Lawmaker Wants To Keep Subpoena Power Over Port Authority

Today, the Assembly Transportation Committee approved a measure sponsored by Deputy Speaker John Wisniewski extending the committee’s subpoena power related to its investigation of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The subpoena power is set to expire in March, but the resolution would extend the authority until the end of the legislative session on Jan. 14, 2014.

The legislation continues the panel’s as a special committee of the General Assembly to investigate all aspects of the finances of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, including, but not limited to, the recently proposed 10-year capital plan, the allocation of the revenue generated from the recently imposed toll increase plan and where that revenue is being spent, and the salary, overtime and other compensation paid to officers and employees of the authority.

The panel sent subpoenas to four top Port Authority of New York and New Jersey officials in October after they failed to adequately respond to Assembly inquiries about the agency’s toll increases, Governor Chris Christie’s decision to cancel a Hudson River commuter rail tunnel project and potential patronage hiring from the governor’s office. Wisniewski claims the agency failed to respond adequately even to the subpoenas.

“The Port Authority has provided limited and incomplete responses to the committee’s subpoenas, and the committee cannot fulfill its charge without full and complete documentary and testimonial evidence,” says Wisniewski. “We have given the Port Authority numerous chances to cooperate but time and time again it fails to adequately do so. This is an out-of-control agency acting more like a kingdom than one created to serve the public, so with our basic questions remain unanswered, this fight on behalf of the public will continue.”

The bill now goes to the full Assembly. As an Assembly resolution, it only requires full Assembly approval before taking effect.

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